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Media Watch 2003

26 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Andreas Hadjipapas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 26 September 2003.
Tassos meets Annan in New York


No new moves yet

NO new moves on Cyprus are expected to be made by the United Nations in the next three months, and possible initiatives will have to wait until after December’s Turkish Cypriot elections.

This emerged yesterday after a meeting that President Tassos Papadopoulos had with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.

Papadopoulos described the atmosphere at the meeting as excellent. He had a chance to bring up the improvements that he is proposing to the Annan plan for a Cyprus settlement, and sources said the UN chief showed “understanding.” He did not press for the holding of a referendum on the plan in its present form or at the present stage. 

Papadopoulos’s impressions from his meetings with other UN and US officials, including Alvaro de Soto and Thomas Weston, was that as long as Rauf Denktash remained Turkish Cypriot negotiator, there was no point and no possibility of holding substantive negotiations leading to a settlement.

He told newsmen: “I have the impression that a new effort will not start as long as the same leadership remains in the Turkish Cypriot community.

He said the Secretary-General had doubts as to whether, even after the elections, there would be conditions for a speedy resumption of the talks.

Depends

Asked if he believed after the December 14 vote that these conditions would be in place, Papadopoulos said “a lot depends not only on the result but on what kind of result there will be and how this will affect Turkey”.

He believed that Ankara would finally decide who would represent the TC community at any future talks. 

“For Mr Denktash to be removed from power, he must suffer a significant defeat at the polls, so that Ankara will feel the obligation and have the excuse to replace him by someone else.”

“With Denktash, there is no hope of a deal, since, by his own statements, he considers the Annan plan dead and buried. With someone else as negotiator, there would at least be some hope that there will be a different approach from Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots”.

Papadopoulos insisted that the changes he was proposing to the plan would make the settlement more functional and therefore viable. 

“It is in the interests of all for the solution to be viable. Not just to sign a piece of paper that will collapse before it is even implemented. The UN also see reason in this thought.”

Addressing the UN General Assembly earlier, the President gave a solemn commitment to enter into new “serious negotiations” on the basis of the Annan plan, “whenever the Secretary-General invites us.”
“A solution is urgently needed in Cyprus, a functional and viable solution that will embrace all Cypriots and will allow our country to take its stride and assume fully its place and role within the European family.”

Vision

His vision was of a “united Cyprus in a united Europe,” moving towards a secure and prosperous future.
Papadopoulos referred to the failure of the UN-brokered talks at the Hague last March and blamed Turkish intransigence, which “thwarted what was probably the strongest ever initiative of the United Nations for finding a solution in Cyprus.” 

He thanked the UN Secretary-General for his tireless efforts and praised the work of Alvaro de Soto and others and urged the United Nations not to give up but persevere in trying to resolve the dispute.

“We understand and share the bitterness and the disappointment of all involved for the failure but, as I said before, we should not give up."

The President stressed that the Cyprus Republic placed human rights “at the very top of its agenda” and would strive to promote and protect human rights not only of all its citizens but also around the world.

The President and Foreign Minister George Iacovou had meetings with numerous foreign dignitaries, especially in view of the upcoming Islamic summit."